You might know that caring for a dog can help children learn to be more responsible, but studies show that dogs also boost self-esteem in children, enhance social skills, and help them to be more cooperative and share. Whether you’re looking for a purebred dog or mixed-breed dog, here are a few that typically do well with children. Remember, an adult must always supervise interactions between any dog and children, and the kids must be taught to treat dogs gently and respectfully.
Airedale Terrier The “King of the Terriers” is hugely versatile, performing successfully as a hunter, guide dog for the blind, livestock herder, elegant show dog, and loving family pet. Airedale Terriers are smart, sensitive, and playful, making them fabulous companions for children.
Australian Shepherd Australian Shepherds are active, intelligent “people dogs” who want nothing more than to be a part of the family. Happy to travel to kids’ baseball games, join in on fun outings like trips to the beach, and herd the kids around the yard, Aussies make wonderful companions for respectful children who are taught to behave properly around the dog.
Bearded Collie Bouncy and boisterous, the Bearded Collie lives for outdoor fun! This shaggy-coated sheepdog thrives on the attention of his people-he will happily herd and guard the family’s smaller charges. Beardies love kids, and kids love any dog that’s not afraid to get his paws muddy and his beard sloppy.
Bichon Frise This animated powder puff is a lovely companion for older children, and fits perfectly in any household, from suburban living to big-city apartments. The beautiful, plush, snow-white coat is low shedding dog breed but needs regular professional grooming to maintain. The Bichon Frise might be suitable for people with dog allergies.
Boston Terrier Playful, gentle, and affectionate, the Boston Terrier makes a great pal. Sturdy enough to enjoy rough play, they want to be with you and are not backyard dogs. This compact, smart breed is easy to care for, requires minimal exercise, and does best when his humans show gentle leadership.
Boxer The handsome Boxer is as loyal and dignified as he is affectionate and energetic. When trained and socialized, Boxers are tireless and downright silly companions for youngsters. Supervise to make sure 50 to 85 pounds of Boxer don’t knock over your kids and their friends.
Bulldog The lumbering, gentle Bulldog is both sturdy and slow-a great match for families with kids. Often referred to as the English Bulldog, this dignified dog breed is typically an even-tempered and agreeable fellow, and tends to form tight bonds with children.
Bullmastiff Created using a blend of 60 percent Mastiff and 40 percent Bulldog, the powerful Bullmastiff combines the best of both dog breeds in a large, strong package. This dog breed is devoted to his family, adores children, and possesses a protective but mellow outlook, making the Bullmastiff one of the better extra-large breeds for city living.
Bull Terrier Like all terriers, the Bull Terrier is active and full of personality, and this sometimes comical breed is especially ready for fun. This is a substantial dog, weighing up to 70 pounds, and can be headstrong like a stubborn child. But with positive training, socialization, and inclusion in family activities, the Bull Terrier thrives as a loving companion.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Nicknamed the “Comforter Spaniel” by British royalty who favored the dog breed throughout history, today’s Cavalier makes a devoted pet for gentle children and does not require a castle to keep him happy. Cavaliers can adapt to a little exercise or a lot, and the beautiful, silky coat is easily maintained with regular brushing and combing, so no professional grooming is required.
Golden Retriever The bright, smiling Golden Retriever is a medium-sized sporting dog, weighing in between 55 and 75 pounds, with a long, lustrous coat in various shades of “golden.” This breed has never met a stranger and views all youngsters as his designated playmates. The Golden is always ready for play, whether it’s galloping in the backyard, swimming on the beach, or hiking on a trail.
Labrador Retriever Lead a Lab to water and it will retrieve all day: balls, sticks, and even children who happen to go for a swim. Whether black, chocolate or yellow, the Lab’s kid-friendly nature has helped make him the most popular dog breed in the United States. Patient and gentle by nature, the Lab excels in a home with respectful children, and craves regular play and exercise to channel his exuberance for life.
Newfoundland A devoted family companion dog with a sweet and even temperament, the Newfoundland has proved himself reliable around kind, well-behaved children. Although kids should never be allowed to climb on top of or ride on the backs of these gentle giants, Newfies are robust and engaged playmates, and delight in hauling children around in carts.
Poodle (Miniature and Standard) Although Toy Poodles are too fragile for young kids, Miniature Poodle and Standard Poodle are excellent playmates for respectful children. Well-bred Poodles are active and intelligent, and revel in learning fun tricks or playing endless games of fetch in the yard. An added bonus: Poodles are dogs that don’t shed and might be suitable for people with dog allergies.
Pug The Pug is as sturdy and big as a Toy breed gets. Weighing in at 14 to 18 pounds, the Pug is a compact, little dog with tons of personality. Most Pugs are easygoing and playful, enjoying the attention of sensible children who recognize that the Pug is no plaything. In cool weather, Pugs are animated and entertaining friends for kids, but tire easier than larger dogs.
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